TGIF! Jul 7 2017


My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in our area affected by last night’s severe storm.  We were lucky with no trees down and our power back on already, but many neighbors fared much worse. Be careful driving out there this morning, folks.

Next week, my family and I leave for our annual trek eastward, to spend a week in Bar Harbor hiking the trails of our daughter’s namesake, Acadia National Park, and eating seafood…. lots of seafood.  Please look for our next TGIF on Friday, July 28.

What is Personalized Learning?

I’ve noticed this term is started to get some flack of late, and rightly so – there are many conflicting definitions, it’s been heavily appropriated by educational software vendors, and it’s easily overused.  (Fad, anyone?)  I thought Education Week had a solid summary last week and since it’s behind a paywall, here are the highlights:

  • On the one hand, personalization is pretty fundamental.  “We all know what powerful learning feels like. It’s immersive and relevant. You know and feel that you are mastering something important. In a word, it’s profoundly personal.”
  • It’s kind of related to differentiation, but not quite. “Differentiation starts with academic goals that are the same for the group. Personalization builds on these common standards but also considers the personal learning goals that are especially meaningful to each student.”
  • Technology isn’t necessary. “We’ve seen manila folders serve as databases and wall posters serve as playlists. And the reality is that despite the wealth of edtech products marketed to support personalization, and the promise we see in the technologies behind Amazon and Netflix that customize for consumers, most current edtech systems are not flexible enough to support personalized learning plans, pathways, and assessments.”
  • It is most effective when students “become active agents involved in determining what they learn (content), how and how fast they learn (process and pace), and/or how they demonstrate their learning (work products).”
  • Likewise, the adult’s role changes too, as “teachers become group facilitators, personal coaches, and support specialists as children engage in authentic and deep learning experiences connected to both a set of standards and their own life goals.”
  • Each school is different, as “every personalized learning school should be tailored to what the youth within its community need.”
  • But schools share common themes, including “built-in student choice, ownership, and self-direction”, “experiential learning in which students engage in real, authentic, complex questions or problems for an extended period of time”, “strong teacher-student relationships… that build in time for teachers to work with students in small groups and even one-on-one on a regular basis”, and a “mastery-based progression… [where a] lesson not only starts with a student’s goals and current ability level taken into account, [but] ends only when the student shows they have mastered the learning goal.”

Learning Links

Stay tuned to our Facebook feed throughout the month of July – I have two weeks of learning links all cued up to post while I’m away, including more Most Likely To Succeed clips; perspectives on our amazingly rapidly changing world; and a deeper dive on assessment, the meaning of learning, and the purpose of school.

In closing….

Get out and enjoy your little piece of our natural world, wherever you may be!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s